The intersection of sport, health, and civic engagement has emerged as a significant implication of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Industry organizations have also adapted in order to operate and serve their stakeholders during the Pandemic: masks on players and spectators, remote coaching sessions, increased livestreaming of programming and more. Against this shifting backdrop, the LeBow College of Business has forged a new partnership with the European Association for Sport Management (EASM), an organization of academics and sport professionals with a global membership.
This month, as LeBow hosts an international symposium as part of EASM’s Festival of Sport Management Research and Practice, both Drexel and Philadelphia will be leading the way on scholarship and social impact on a global stage. “Sport, Health and Public Engagement,” hosted by LeBow’s Department of Sport Business, will take place virtually on Thursday, Oct. 28.
“We’re proud to be one of the first American universities to partner with EASM and excited to host this portion of their festival,” says Joel Maxcy, PhD, professor and department head of sport business.
In addition to presenting academic experts from universities in North America and throughout the world sharing their research on diverse topics such as sport development, leadership, stakeholder management, equity, diversity, inclusion, governance, public health and physical activity management, the Department of Sport Business is convening two panels on the state of sport and its various impacts on society: “Sport, Health and Public Engagement: Where are we now?” and “Where do we go from here? Facilitating Sport, Health and Civic Engagement in a post-COVID world.”
Jeffrey Levine, JD, PhD, assistant clinical professor of sport business, has organized the conference and will serve as co-moderator for the latter panel, explained the new role sport has played during the pandemic era.
“Initially, sport helped divert people’s attention away from fear and provide comfort during a period great uncertainty,” he says. “However, we’ve also witnessed how sport has been used in other powerful ways: to help inspire change, to foster health and wellness, and to be a lifeline for many people. This symposium seeks to highlight and unpack these ideas, as well as their important implications.”
Addresses by Maxcy, LeBow Dean and R. John Chapel Jr. Dean’s Chair Vibhas Madan, PhD, and Rogelio Miñana, PhD, Drexel’s Vice Provost for Global Engagement, will kick off the conference, which is also co-sponsored by the Westphal College of Media Arts & Design, the Office of Global Engagement and the School of Education.
“Hosting this conference has allowed us to reach out across campus and form interdisciplinary connections,” Maxcy says.
The kickoff panel brings a Philadelphia-specific perspective, as members of the Philadelphia Youth Sport Collaborative will speak about their respective experiences during the pandemic and the interconnections between sport, health, and civic engagement. Levine’s concluding panel focuses on the future, and includes global perspectives from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee and the Aspen Institute, as well as more local ones from the Philadelphia Youth Sports Collaborative. The panel also incorporates the unique perspective of esports, as Philadelphia-based Nerd Street Gamers.
Maxcy notes that Nerd Street Gamers, a national network of esports facilities and events dedicated to making esports more accessible to everyone, has been a frequent partner for Drexel. Esports is of particular interest to the university’s athletic department, as it recently launched a club esports team and is exploring long-term strategies to integrate esports into Drexel, such as building an esports-specific facility on campus.
“Just participating in sports now is more complicated, to say nothing of the impact on major spectator sports. I think including perspectives from esports in this high-level discussion gives Drexel a lot of visibility and credibility in that area going forward,” he says.
Registration for the conference, including a discounted rate for students, is available through Oct. 27.